Exceptional staff members like Director of the FIU Marching Band, Barry Bernhardt, are what truly set the FIU community apart. Joining the Panther family in 2010, Bernhardt was brought back to revive the FIU Marching Band/Athletic Band program.
Aside from FIU, Bernhardt has worked on the Production Staff of WorldStrides Onstage Performance – formerly known as Bowl Games of America. As part of its production staff, Bernhardt put together high school bands for major NCAA Bowl Games. He started out as a field assistant and was then given the opportunity to conduct his first show for the 1993 NCAA National Championship at the Sugar Bowl when the University Miami played the University of Alabama. Since then, he has conducted the HS Massed Bands at six NCAA National Championships and has been invited to conduct the halftime show for the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Thirty years later, and the feeling still remains for Bernhardt: “Even though I have done this for almost thirty years, I still feel very blessed to have these opportunities to work with some of the finest high school bands in the nation…”
Through his professional work, Bernhardt has brought along several young musicians to FIU following their Bowl Game experiences. In fact, aside from the high school bands, not many students know about their Director’s other life.
FIU and WorldStrides allow Bernhardt to do what he loves most on a daily basis, teaching his students about music and life. “I am humbled by the opportunity to make music and build fine, upstanding young citizens every day. It’s never about me, it’s about what I can give the students. I don’t always teach music…. most of the time, I feel that I teach life!”
The 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl is an annual college football game that takes place on New Year’s Day. You can tune in on January 1st, 2020 at 8:45, where college teams will play in New Orleans, Louisiana for the Sugar Bowl title!